Errors in the Tipping Point Referee Certification Tests

@Jim_Crane

Hi, just completed this year’s certification test, and unfortunately there are a number of inconsistencies with the game manual, some quite serious. For each test question I’ll post a picture of a question with the answer marked as correct shown.


This question is very similarly worded to how it was in last year’s test, and my concern with it is identical to my concern with it last year.
G12 states:

Don’t destroy other Robots. But, be prepared to encounter defense. Strategies aimed solely
at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or Entanglement of opposing Robots are not part of the ethos of the VEX Robotics Competition and are not allowed. If the tipping, Entanglement, or damage is ruled to be intentional or egregious, the offending Team may be Disqualified from that Match. Repeated offenses could result in Disqualification from the entirety of the competition.

The question asserts that the interaction was match affecting. However, G12 makes no mention of “match affecting”, only whether the tipping is “intentional or egregious”. Therefore, whether the interaction was match affecting or not is irrelevant; only whether the interaction was “intentional or egregious”. Since we are not given this information (and common sense says it was not intentional due to the fact that the blue robot also tipped over), I do not see a reason that the blue robot should be DQed.


Assuming the SG4 violation was incidental, this seems like a textbook case of SG5c, which states:

If opposing Robots contact one another while both engaging with the Neutral Zone, and an incidental violation of SG4 occurs, no penalty will be assessed on either Alliance

Therefore, the blue alliance should not be automatically awarded the alliance bonus and autonomous should be scored as normal.


This is very similar to the last question. The interaction sounds to be incidental, so SG5c applies, meaning no autonomous bonus penalties would be assessed, and the autonomous period would be scored as normal.


I’m not sure what’s going on with this question; it pretty clearly directly contradicts SG4, which states [my emphasis]:

Stay out of the opponent’s Home Zone during Autonomous. During the Autonomous Period,
Robots may not contact the foam tiles, Scoring Objects, Robots, or Platforms which are fully contained in the opposing Alliance Home Zone.

Violations of this rule will result in the Autonomous Bonus being awarded to the opposing Alliance. The opposing Alliance will also receive an Autonomous Win Point, regardless of whether they completed the Autonomous Win Point tasks. Intentional, strategic, or egregious violations, such as intentional contact with an opposing Robot completely within their Alliance Home Zone, will result in a Disqualification.

Blue should automatically receive the Autonomous Win Point.


For this question I’m not sure what rule is attempting to be applied here. G12 has no mention of “preventing a mechanism from functioning properly”, unless doing so involves intentional/egregious destruction/entanglement, which doesn’t appear to be the case here. I would like to hear from the writers of the test which rule is being applied in this scenario; otherwise I don’t see how this is a warning, let alone a DQ.


This question pertains to the LRT portion of the course. According to appendix E of the game manual,

VRC Tipping Point for LRT is played by two Teams - one “red” and one “blue”. Each Team competes on a separate field (i.e. there are two Robots, two Teams, and two fields in each Match).

By definition, there cannot be more than one robot on an alliance (outside of VEXU, which is not applicable here) in LRT, therefore I don’t see how this question makes any sense.

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Looks like would apply here. …“If there are any conflicts between the Game Manual and other supplemental materials (e.g. Referee Training videos, VRC Hub app, etc), the most current version of the Game Manual takes precedent.”

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I would rule this as a violation of SG10. I see this as being used as a glove to violate G12, entangling a robot intentionally by putting a ring into the opposing robot.

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That’s how I would look at it too for this case, so a DQ. In the real world, was it placed or bounced in there would drive what the call is.

From SG10 "The intent of this rule is to prohibit teams from using game objects as “gloves” to loophole any rule that states “a Robot may not [do some action]”. This rule is not intended to be taken in its most extreme literal interpretation, where any interaction between a Scoring Object and a Robot needs to be scrutinized with the same intensity as if it were a Robot."

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I could see this being a valid interpretation, but it would have to be pretty egregious to be something to DQ over. It’s not like the blue robot is going to just be sitting still so the red robot can carefully position a ring just right so that it jams a mechanism. I can see something like this happening accidentally, but I can’t see it being intentional.

Honestly, if your robot is so poorly designed that a ring falling onto the moving target of your robot has a decent chance of breaking it, you should have built a more robust robot.

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In the context of the question, the red robot places a Ring in the blue robot’s mechanism, therefore causing it to be dysfunctional. In the wording of the question, I view the word “places” to mean that the Red alliance intentionally and egregiously put the ring into the Blue robot disabling their mechanism and should be a dq for the Red robot or Red alliance based on if the match is a qualifier or a elimination.

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Sure, I guess my concern is that by including this question in the official list of questions, it might prime more inexperienced referees to apply that a little bit too zealously.

“This robot dropped the ring into the other robot, it caused the robot to stop working, now this team wants me to DQ the team because they couldn’t do anything for the entire match, I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, I can’t find the rule in the rulebook, but I remember something like this from the referee test… uh, DQ, it was definitely match affecting”

It’s the combination of being very subjective, being very (in my opinion) unlikely, and being a few logical steps removed from an actual referenceable written rule that concerns me.

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I think this question is out of date with v2.2 of the game manual:

The definition of “possession” given in unit 4 of the certification course (which was also present in previous versions of the game manual) is:

Under that definition, a robot could be “possessing” a mobile goal without touching it. However, in v2.2 the definition was changed to:

and I think this new definition eliminates the possibility of “possessing” a mobile goal without touching it.

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@Jim_Crane Do you know when the ref certification will be updated to fix the above errors and to conform to the December game manual update?

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Head Reffing my first event this season tomorrow, so I completed the certification yesterday. All of the above errors in the questions are still present. In addition, I noticed this in the referee training video discussing match loads embedded in the training.

This scenario is shown as an acceptable, but seems like a clear violation of SG8

SG8a: Match Load Rings must be gently placed onto one of the gray foam tiles directly in front of the Alliance Station, i.e. the tiles coincident with the field perimeter wall.

Per SG8a, you must place rings onto a gray foam tile and not another ring.

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@Jim_Crane since we’re about a month out from the end of the regular season, do you know when the above issues will be fixed? Thank you.

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This is a game rule question. Please post on the official Q&A. I think there might be some assumptions being made which can be best cleared up in the Q&A.

Sorry I hadn’t seen this earlier, I don’t typically read through the Forum, but thanks for tagging me. That got my attention!

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I’m not really sure what assumptions you are referring to; I think the contradictions with the game manual are pretty clear. I’ll go ahead and write some Q&As though.

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“The top ring is transitively contacting the foam” would be an assumption.

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@Jim_Crane So I went ahead and asked on the Q&A like you said to, but now more than a month later the GDC is saying that the Q&A isn’t the proper place to ask, and that I should email them instead. I’m going to go ahead and do that, but this is really frustrating that after 3 1/2 months the Referee certification still isn’t fixed as I continue to get redirected again and again.

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So here we are, over 6 weeks later, and I have received no response from the GDC regarding my email, and the above mentioned issues have not been fixed on the referee certification. I’m not sure where I went wrong here. I could not possibly have notified the RECF any sooner, as I wrote the OP of this thread literally the same day that the certification was released in November. I then posted on the Q&A as directed by an RECF employee and GDC member. A month later, the GDC told me to email them, which I did, bringing us to where we are.

@DanMantz when you announced that the RECF would be introducing a Head Referee certification course in order to raise the quality of referees at qualifying and regional level events, I was enthusiastic about the idea. Over the several previous seasons that it has operated, I think it fulfilled that purpose. However, this season the VRC Head Referee certification has disappointingly fallen short. Because of the above mentioned errors contained in it, I have seen referees rule in ways that are in direct opposition to the game manual, harming teams, because the certification directed them to do so. Since now the entirety of the season has already passed without these issues being fixed, there probably isn’t much point to fixing them now. Instead, it would be nice to have a commitment from the RECF and the GDC (@Grant_Cox ) to hold the certification to a higher standard, to update the certification when new versions of the game manual come out, and to fix issues that are brought to your attention by the community. Thank you.

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I would also like to point out that the driver certification course never came out this season.

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TBH I just gave up waiting for it. What is the point of making a certification if the only rules are:

  1. VEX is for robots
  2. Wear goggles
  3. Stay in area

There are not enough rules to make a certification. I think that would be the justification but I am puzzled as well

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